Let’s think of an unlikely scenario, and ask yourself how would you react to it?
Suppose Al Qaeda were planning to dislocate water supplies around the globe, force hundreds of millions from their homes and was planning to seriously disrupt oil supplies, what would you want done to feel safe?
Could you imagine your government not taking immediate action?
Think about it for a moment – fear should galvanise action.
So, why isn’t this happening regarding climate change? The threat is greater, and the reality is bearing down on us fast.
The latest reports tell us that ice is melting and the seas are rising faster, that forests are now emitting CO2 when they were supposed to be sinks, that the fish in the seas are dying and world food supplies are diminishing. We have a situation that is far worse than anything Al Qaeda could offer.
Yet what are we doing?
Is it because we are frogs being so gradually brought to the boil that we cannot act? Do we need explosions and sudden death to respond?
This is the great moral question of our age – does the human race have the fibre and capacity to act? To massively cut over-consumption and retrofit our dirty technology? And will those with money pay to refit those without, for it is unlikely to happen otherwise?
I believe this country can act, but we need to be quick about it, for there really is no time to be lost. But overseas may not be so easy: are we prepared to provide financial support to other countries to do the same? For we in the rich countries will have to subsidise sustainability everywhere. These actions won’t come cheaply. This is why I have argued that we need to prepare ourselves for what we cannot stop, and to start discussing the ethical issues as well.
To give one example, in www.planetextinction.com/documents/ethics.pdf I discussed how we might, as a community, handle the mortgages on property flooded by sea-level rise when we are all responsible for global warming? Do we all dip into our pockets? When a hundred million in Bangladesh and Holland and Egypt become sea-rise refugees, how many do we take in, and where do we stop if the seas continue to rise? What do we do when a billion are displaced?
These are enormous human issues, and we need to prepare our minds for them before they overtake us.
John James is a therapist, architect, philosopher and medieval historian. With his wife Hilary and partner Marg Garvan he founded the Crucible Centre to teach Transpersonal Psychology. Their exploration into soul and energy work has just been published as The Great Field. He wrote the www.planetextinction.com site to share information on climate change.
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